Hey, M.G. Siegler,
What do you think about framing payment as the crux of the issue here?
An alternative method of paying for content, perhaps a ‘wallet’ built into the web’s infrastructure, would ease the pressure to produce link-bait content, which in turn would allow publications to focus more on building themselves into trustworthy, principled organisations rather than having to cater to the lowest common denominator for existential reasons (i.e., being paid by the click).
A system that was built into the fundamentals of the web would allow browser manufacturers and publishers to provide a robust, user-friendly, and (importantly) ‘one-wallet-many-publishers’ experience. Do you know if it has been proposed, or tried?